by Nick Swartsell
11 days ago
Posted In: News
at 10:01 AM | Permalink
NCAA tournament is Ohio against the world; VA head McDonald: speed up services to homeless veterans; NKY Rep. wants to cut fed funding for transit projects
Hey all, it’s news time on this glorious, if rainy, Friday. Let’s go.It truly is Ohio against the world right now, at least when it comes to March Madness (which, if you’re anything like some of my friends, truly is your entire existence at this moment in time). The University of Cincinnati beat Purdue in a heart-stopper last night, Xavier bested Ole Miss and OSU beat Virginia Commonwealth University. Additionally, the Dayton Flyers pulled one out Wednesday against Boise State to make it into the tournament. They’ll be facing Providence College tonight. That’s great, but big challenges loom ahead: specifically, 8th-seed UC will have to face 1st-seed UK tomorrow. That’s going to be a tough game for the Bearcats. But let’s see what happens, right? While we’re talking basketball, here’s an interesting look at which local programs are making money for their universities, and which are break-even propositions. UC, for instance, spends as much on its basketball program as its team brings in, while Xavier turns a handy profit — the Musketeers’ hoops squad brings in more than $6 million a year. • Veterans Affairs Secretary and former P&G CEO Bob McDonald wants Cincinnati, along with other cities, to speed up the process of identifying and helping homeless veterans. McDonald visited local service agencies helping veterans yesterday and said he was impressed with the work those groups are doing, as well as the progress the city has made on veteran homelessness. But he also called for quicker turnaround when it comes to getting homeless veterans into housing, saying that the longer it takes to find them and get them on the right track, the less likely they will be to receive and utilize that aid at all. Mayor John Cranley, who joined McDonald on his tours of service agencies yesterday, is engaged in a national program to help vets, called the Mayor’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness. That initiative looks to end veteran homelessness across the country by the end of this year. • The Cincinnati Zoo recently made a national list of top places to travel if you want to see cool animals. Family Fun magazine publishes its annual rankings on the best places to travel in a number of specific categories, and Cincinnati’s Zoo ranked number eight in the animal attractions category. It ranked just below Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which is pretty impressive. It’s one more accolade for the zoo, which is widely recognized as one of the best in the nation. • U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, who represents Northern Kentucky, has a GREAT idea for fixing the nation’s highway funding dilemma: strip funding for all other transit projects from the National Highway Trust Fund. Massie says the federal government’s grants for streetcars and other alternate forms of transit cost billions that could go toward building and repairing highways and bridges. Hm. Right. Except each of those projects keeps cars off the road, lessens America’s dependence on oil, may create economic development in the communities they’re built in and provide ways to work and recreation for the millions of Americans who don’t own cars. Which, as of yesterday, includes me. It’s also worth noting that only a small percentage of the Highway Trust Fund goes to transit projects, so cutting that funding would be a drop in the bucket. An alternative measure would be to increase the nation’s gas tax, which hasn’t been raised since grunge rock was cool the first time (that’s 1993).
• Former (and perhaps future) Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum was once again in the Greater Cincinnati area Thursday, fueling more speculation about his ambitions for the GOP presidential nomination. The former Pennsylvania senator stopped by a fundraiser in Montgomery hosted by the Northeast Hamilton County Republican Club. He avoided saying crazy stuff about religion (at least on the record) but did have some eyebrow-raising thoughts on the economy. Santorum is known to be a hardcore conservative when it comes to social issues, but there are signs he’s tacking moderate on the economy, a combination last tried by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee when he sought the GOP nomination in 2008. Santorum talked about how Republicans could capture the hearts and minds of America’s workers, backing policies that step away from the hardcore trickle down theories (tax cuts for the wealthy, decreased regulations) most recently advanced by the GOP. He revealed his presidential platform, should he run, would include supporting a small minimum wage increase — something few other Republicans seem willing to touch. He also committed something close to sacrilege for conservatives, saying the party needed to move on from Ronald Regan’s economic legacy and message. Santorum’s continued courting of the buckeye state (he was here visiting folks in Butler County a couple weeks ago for a religious freedom conference) comes ahead of his party’s national convention in Cleveland next year and is further evidence that the presidential race may be tightly focused on Ohio.• While we’re talking presidential hopefuls, let’s cross the spectrum for a minute and talk about Democrats, specifically their frontrunner for the presidential nomination, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She’s been dominating the field on the Dem side, even though she hasn’t officially announced her candidacy. But that could be changing, according to a new poll from news organization Reuters. That poll shows Clinton’s support among Democrats has dipped by 15 points since mid-February, and that now about 45 percent of those identifying with the party say they’re sure they’ll vote for her. That’s still a bigger margin than any other potential candidate, of which there are very few, but the drop is alarming. Some of the dip may be explained by the recent high-profile flap over Clinton’s e-mail usage while secretary of state. After the New York Times reported earlier this month that Clinton used a personal account to conduct State Department business, she has been on the defensive explaining that move. Clinton has turned over tens of thousands of work related e-mails sent from her personal account, but also had other e-mails she claims were personal deleted. That’s led some to suggest she may be hiding information. Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail account appears to have fallen within State Department rules, which were changed after her tenure to require the Secretary of State to use a government account for accountability purposes. And I’m out. Tweet me (@nswartsell), e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or comment below. What do you think? Do you hold out any hope for UC against UK? Do you think we should raise the gas tax? Should I buy a car or wait for regional transit in Cincinnati to become so stellar I won’t need one? (I'm not holding my breath on any of these).
by Nick Swartsell
120 days ago
Posted In: News
at 10:57 AM | Permalink
Huge new development slated for OTR; Greater Cincinnati's unemployment at lowest level in a decade; Cleveland police officers sue department for racial bias against whites
Welcome back to the post-holiday real world, where we all must once again perform tasks even more arduous than eating three pounds of turkey and falling asleep in a chair while grownups talk about football. But hey, it’s Cyber Monday, so you can still spend brain-melting amounts of time staring at a screen shopping for the perfect deal on those special-edition Ruth Bader Ginsburg signature Nike Dunks you’ve been wanting until you fall asleep in your chair while grownups talk about work. Or maybe that’s just me. Anyway, on to news.If you weren’t following CityBeat over the holiday, you probably didn’t hear about this. A group of protesters arrested at a solidarity march for Ferguson, Mo. last week were jailed over Thanksgiving, despite having paid bail. Seven of the eight protesters arrested during the march’s shutdown of I-75 paid their $3,000 bond, but were kept in jail because they were deemed flight risks by Hamilton County Judge Melissa Powers. That meant that despite being charged with only misdemeanors, they had to wear electronic monitoring devices provided by an office that closed Wednesday around noon and wasn’t slated to reopen until today. The protesters were released Friday after Hamilton County Judge Ted Berry overturned the monitoring requirement, however. • Over-the-Rhine continues to change at a rapid pace. Another huge development project is in the works for the neighborhood, this one around the historic Grammer’s bar and restaurant. Rookwood Pottery Co. owner Martin Wade is looking to spend $75 million on a project that will redevelop 100 apartments, create 40,000 square feet of office and retail space and build four single-family homes. No word yet on whether any of that living space will be affordable housing aimed at low-income residents, but the plans tend to sound more toward the upscale, with details like Rookwood pottery accents in the works. The final phase of the project will be a 68-unit apartment building aimed at families looking to move into the neighborhood in a space behind the OTR Kroger store that is currently a garden. • Here’s some good news: Greater Cincinnati’s unemployment rate is down to 4.3 percent, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. That’s the lowest it’s been in a decade. Last October, the rate was almost 7 percent.• No, the Zoo hasn’t hired your one weird clickbait-sharing uncle as its new social media manager. Hackers have taken over the Cincinnati Zoo’s Facebook page and are posting all sorts of non-wildlife related content. The posts began about midnight Sunday and are the kind of thing that one annoying Facebook friend you have always posts: top five embarrassing photos lists, top 10 embarrassing holiday foods you shouldn’t eat lists, top 30 places to visit before your 40th birthday lists; that kind of thing. The Zoo has reached out to the social media company, which so far hasn’t taken any action to stop the posts. Officials with the Zoo are asking users to report the page as hacked.• In what has to be one of the best examples of terrible journalism seen
in Ohio in years, Cleveland.com, the Cleveland Plain Dealers’ website,
published an article outlining the legal history of the father of the
unarmed12-year-old boy shot by Cleveland police last month. “Tamir
Rice’s Father Has History of Domestic Violence,” the headline screams,
apropos of absolutely nothing at all. The paper published the story Nov.
26, the same day a video showing Rice’s shooting was released. In the
video, an officer jumps out of a patrol car and shoots Rice, a bored-looking kid playing with a toy pistol, within
seconds of arriving at the scene. The shooting has caused a good deal of
anger in Cleveland, prompting demonstrations and calls for the involved
officers’ resignations. An investigation into the shooting is ongoing. Meanwhile, in what is clearly some alternate reality…• Members of the Cleveland Police Department are suing the department,
saying it racially discriminates against white officers involved in
shootings of blacks. Eight white officers and one Hispanic officer are
suing over their treatment in wake of a 2012 high-speed chase that
resulted in two suspects without guns being shot in their car more than
20 times. The City of Cleveland settled with the families of the two for
$3 million. Thirteen officers fired 137 shots during the chase. The nine
officers involved in the lawsuit complain that they were unfairly
assigned desk duty, meaning they could only perform what the suit calls
“boring, menial tasks.” The group says they should not be held
accountable for the incident, since the Ohio Attorney General found that
it was part of big systemic problems in the department. Huh. That’s
interesting logic. • Finally, I dunno how many of you remember Richard Scarry's Busy Town kids books. If you do, this is hilarious in a "it's really kind of dark because it's true" sort of way. If you don't remember the books, well, I think it's probably still hilarious.
Plus, the Tunes & Blooms concert series begins and Mainstay Rock Bar turns 5
0 Comments · Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Local Folk Metal band Winterhymn launches crowd-funding campaign to help with its upcoming national tour, while Chamber/Folk/Indie foursome The Happy Maladies goes to its fans for help with a pair of ambitious recording projects. Plus, Mainstay Rock Bar celebrates its fifth birthday and the Cincinnati Zoo's free Tunes & Blooms concerts begin.
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Issue 2 is another levy renewal that goes directly to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.
If approved by voters, it wouldn’t
increase taxes, although it would keep property taxes $10 higher
by German Lopez
Cranley and Qualls win mayoral primary, state limits Obamacare, zoo levy renewal on ballot
Ex-Councilman John Cranley decisively defeated Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls
as both Democratic mayoral candidates won the primary election and
advanced to the general election. With all precincts reporting, Cranley
got 55.9 percent of the vote and Qualls picked up 37.2 percent,
according to unofficial results from the Hamilton County Board of Elections.
But voter turnout for yesterday’s primary was especially low at 5.68
percent; in comparison, turnout was 15 percent during the primary held
on Sept. 11, 2001 — the day of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade
Center and Pentagon — and 21 percent in the 2005 mayoral primary. In the
past two mayoral races with primaries, whoever won the primary election
lost the general election. Voters will make the final choice for mayor
between Qualls and Cranley on Nov. 5.
Limitations imposed by Ohio lawmakers who oppose the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) have forced Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center to give up a $124,419 federal grant
that would have gone toward helping uninsured Ohioans navigate new
online marketplaces for health insurance. State legislators say the
regulations are supposed to clarify who qualifies as a “navigator” under
Obamacare to avoid potential abuses and conflicts of interest, but
Obamacare’s supporters say Republicans are just trying to make the law
more difficult to implement. Under Obamacare, participating
organizations are classified as navigators so they can help promote new
online marketplaces and tax subsidies to meet the law’s enrollment
goals. By losing its classification as a navigator, Cincinnati
Children’s Hospital can no longer help in that outreach effort.
After getting approval from county commissioners, the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is asking voters to renew a levy that will appear as Issue 2 on the Nov. 5 ballot. The renewal wouldn’t
increase taxes from today’s rates, but it would keep property taxes $10
higher for every $100,000 of home value. It will go to the care,
feeding and maintenance of the zoo’s animals and botanical gardens. A
study from the University of Cincinnati Economic Center found the zoo had a $143 million impact on the Cincinnati area in 2012
— representing nearly 3.9 times the zoo’s total spending — and produced
1,700 jobs and nearly $1.6 million in tax revenue for Cincinnati and
State Rep. John Carney announced yesterday that he will run for state auditor.
Carney, a Democrat, will aim to replace Republican Dave Yost. He says
his run will “bring much-needed bipartisanship and transparency back to
our state government,” particularly by ending the one-party rule in many
state offices. Carney also took aim at JobsOhio, the privatized
development agency that has been mired in scandals in the past few
months. Yost split with his fellow Republicans when he pursued a full
audit of JobsOhio’s public and private funds, but Republican state
legislators cut the debate short by passing a law that made the agency
insusceptible to a full audit.
Two Ohio prison guards are suspended with pay
after the apparent suicide of Ariel Castro, the Cleveland man who was
convicted to a life sentence for holding three women captive and beating
and raping them. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction
is investigating whether proper protocols were followed to avoid
Campaign contributions to Republican Gov. John Kasich and Democratic opponent Ed FitzGerald came from people the gubernatorial candidates appointed to government positions.
In the case of Kasich, the contributions are legal under state law. But
the $1,000 contribution to FitzGerald was returned because it was deemed illegal under a county ethics law
that FitzGerald helped establish as Cuyahoga County
executive. Still, Kasich’s campaign has
criticized FitzGerald for the illegal contribution, even though Kasich
isn’t applying the same standard to his own campaign.
The panel reviewing the state’s controversial facial recognition program will actually review the entire web-based, decade-old Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway
for proper protection protocols. Gov. John Kasich and the American
Civil Liberties Union are among two of many who criticized the facial
recognition program for potential breaches of privacy. The facial
recognition program allows police officers and civilian employees to use
a photo to search databases for names and contact information;
previously, law enforcement officials needed a name or address to search
such databases. The program was online for two months without an
independent review of its protocols and before the public was notified
of its existence.
President Barack Obama nominated former Gov. Ted Strickland to be one of five alternative representatives to the United Nations delegation.
People can often remember events early in life better than more recent events, and that might explain why they usually enjoy their parents’ favorite music.
by German Lopez
Posted In: 2013 Election
at 11:29 AM | Permalink
Zoo claims levy renewal is a good investment for region
After getting approval from county commissioners, a levy
renewal for the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden will appear on the Nov. 5 ballot as Issue
The renewal wouldn’t increase taxes from today’s rates, but it would keep property taxes $10 higher for every
$100,000 of home value.If approved by voters, the funding would go to the care, feeding and maintenance of the zoo’s animals and botanical gardens.
The Cincinnati Zoo is promoting Issue 2 by claiming it’s a
good investment for the region. A study from the University of
Cincinnati Economic Center found the zoo had a $143 million impact on the Cincinnati area in 2012
— representing nearly 3.9 times the zoo’s total spending — and produced
1,700 jobs and nearly $1.6 million in tax revenue for Cincinnati and
The “Renew the Zoo” campaign is already in full motion at friendsofthecincinnatizoo.org.
by Hannah McCartney
Posted In: News
at 12:13 PM | Permalink
Accolade adds to zoo's arsenal of sustainability accomplishments
The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden added to its ever-expanding list of green accolades this week when its Base Camp Cafe was named the "greenest restaurant in America" by the Green Restaurant Association, a welcome but not-so-surprising accomplishment from the same locale that calls itself the "greenest zoo in America." According to the zoo's website, its sustainability push kicked off in 2006, and since then they've been in the news almost constantly for different initiatives, innovative ideas and successes in the world of green. Makes perfect sense particularly in a zoo, where the main mission is already, you know, dependent upon preservation, conservation and respecting nature. The Base Camp Cafe apparently earned the highest sustainability score the Green Restaurant Association has ever given out, which makes us wonder what else the zoo possibly has in store to keep up prized No. 1 title. Right now, the cafe is fueled partly by solar power, offers a full recycling (and composting!) program, uses some local produce and most of the tableware is compostable, including plates, bowls, cups and utensils. The zoo also recycles chip bags and candy wrappers (normally landfill material) through upcycler TerraCycle. Today, you can find the zoo's obsession with sustainability lurking around pretty much every corner. By resource saved, here are some of their other greatest hits, by no means a comprehensive rundown: Water Since 2006, the zoo's water consumption has been reduced by one-third, thanks to fixed leaks, low-flow water pumps and behavioral changes. Pervious pavement cuts down on water pollution and flooding green roofs (roofs covered with live plants) and raingardens make use out of rainwater and cut down on runoff, which can cause erosion and pollution. Solid WasteIn 2012, the zoo made a commitment to work toward becoming an zero landfill facility, which would mean that less than one percent of their total waste stream would be sent to the landfill. Almost every area composts in some way — old food, bedding, animal waste — around eight tons of material every week. Recycling bins are paired up with every trash can. EnergyThe solar energy panels at the zoo are perhaps its most recognizable green achievement, having garnered national attention particularly for the panel canopy structure over the Vine Street parking lot, which is the largest urban, publicly accessible panel in the U.S. The zoo also uses wind turbines, geothermal wells that help naturally regulate the temps inside zoo buildings, and, potentially, an anaerobic digester that would use elephant poop to produce power.Congrats, Cincinnati Zoo! We can't wait to see what you have in store next.
by Hannah McCartney
New NRA president, local homicide rates increase, cutest zoo babies contest
The National Rifle Association (NRA) will name Alabama lawyer Jim Porter its new president at their annual meeting in Houston this weekend. Porter replaces current president David Keene, whose two-year term is at an end. Porter served as the first vice president of the NRA board for two years and second vice president for another two years. His father, Irvine Porter, was NRA president from 1959-1960, making Jim the first son of a former NRA president to take the gun lobby's highest office. Meet the man who frequently uses the word "ain't" and believes U.S. gun owners are treated like "second-class citizens" here. NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre will reportedly continue to hold down the media spotlight. Connecticut Gov. Dannell Malloy recently compared an "out of whack" LaPierre to "clowns at the circus" in response to LaPierre's criticism over the state's tightened gun control laws. Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee yesterday signed legislation making Rhode Island the 10th state in the nation to allow gay marriage and the final of the six New England states to do so. The city of Cincinnati has ceased Recyclebank, an incentive program encouraging residents to recycle, thanks to low participation rates. You can still redeem your points, though. A new perk program will be launched sometime soon. Homicide in Cincinnati has increased by 50 percent compared to statistics from the same period last year, according to the Cincinnati Police Department. In other grim news, the suicide rate among middle-aged Ohioans rose significantly over the past decade, a trend mirrored across the U.S., according to new statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2010, Ohio saw 783 suicides among residents 35 to 64 years old, compared to 517 in 1999. That marks a 41.5 percent increase, significantly higher than the nationwide average of 28 percent. Art on the Streets and the City of Cincinnati Bike Program are sponsoring The Music Ride tonight as part of Bike Month to celebrate Over-the-Rhine Night at the Cincinnati Symphony. Instruments will be provided, and all age and skill levels are welcome. Today marks the kick-off of a weekend full of Flying Pig Marathon celebrations, which, in the aftermath of the Boston bombings, will feature heightened security meaures. If you're planning on driving anywhere around downtown this weekend, be sure to check out road closures first. The Cincinnati Zoo is holding a “Cutest Baby of All Time: Sweet 16” people’s choice contest. Advancers so far include Gladys the baby gorilla in the "Primate" category and Bernard the King penguin in the "Wings & Things" branch. Today, vote between Joseph the cougar or Savanna the cheetah in the feline bracket. Speaking of Gladys, she made her public debut in her outdoor yard Tuesday. We at CityBeat nearly lost our marbles when we lost internet at the office for 24 hours. Meet a man who survived without it for an entire year and lived to talk about it. Happy Friday: Here is a video of Ryan Gosling smirking a lot and, for a second, shirtless.
Plus, benefit concerts, tunes (and blooms) at the Zoo and more
0 Comments · Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Local rockers 500 Miles to Memphis celebrate their 10th birthday with a blow-out concert in Newport. Plus, area Folk/Americana artists unite to help Covington venue stay afloat, Rosie Carson, The Graveblankets and others perform for Cancer Family Care of Cincinnati at Molly Malone's in Covington and the Cincinnati Zoo's "Tunes & Blooms" concert series finally gets some spring-like weather.
by Jac Kern
Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings
As the weather
gets warmer, music lovers tend to get antsy looking forward to summer concerts
and music festivals. There’s Bonnaroo, Forecastle, Bunbury all within a
reasonable drive from Cincinnati, plus tons of touring concerts like The Shins, The Lumineers, country acts galore and the most anticipated tour of them all: The Package. Boy band lovers of the ‘80s and ‘90s will unite for this music spectacular from New
Kids on the Block, Boyz II Men and Cincy’s own 98 Degrees. The tour kicks off next
month and Nick Lachey & Co. may not officially come home until the sold-out
concert June 25, but Buzzfeed is already getting in the spirit with this
collection of photos that reminds us about how Justin Jeffre was essentially
the Michelle Williams of 98 Degrees.
Upon looking up some 98 deets on Wikipedia, I realized dude is the only bandmate
who doesn’t have his own page. And he ran for mayor in 2005! Poor Justin. At
least he took a break from rehearsing to stop by our Best of Cincinnati party
last week (and if you obnoxiously asked him for a photo or just squealed and pointed at his
presence…Shame on you), which was just one
day before the release of the reunited band’s newest single. “Microphone”
(which, according to The Daily Beast’s painstaking analysis, could have also been entitled “Penis”) has all the ingredients for a killer
boy band tune: a danceable beat, barely-subtle phallic references that preteens
could unknowingly sing on the back of the school bus, and lyrics that pay
tribute to the group’s barber shop quartet past (“Say, ‘do-re-mi-fa-sooooo’ ”).
Cabrera? He was an early-2000s Pop singer who dated pre-Pete Wentz Ashlee
Simpson and was later resurrected on that post-Lauren Conrad final season of
The Hills that probably only I watched. Well, in a move I can only wish I was bold enough to pull first, he got Ryan Gosling’s face tatted
on his calf. One glance at the InAPPropriate
Comedy trailer and it was obvious — that shit was going to be bad. But as
this Huffington Post live-blog of the — ahem — “film” describes, it was baaad. Like being-inside-Lindsay-Lohan’s-vagina
bad (Spoiler Alert).
The Walking Dead’s
third season finale was Sunday night and, though the season closer was full of ample zombie/Governor scariness, the most terrifying part of the night came
during the live after-show, Talking Dead.
Somehow, this dude managed to make it on the air:
Hey, if you want a
captive, conspiracy-loving audience to stir up, TWD fans are it.
OK, time to get
serious for a minute. I don’t usually like to discuss serious matters like
death or illness on this silly pop culture blog, but this latest news from MTV
is just too crazy to ignore. A cast member from Buckwild, MTV’s take on
the rednecksploitation trend that replaced Jersey
Shore, was found dead in his car after having gone missing over the
weekend. While full details have not officially been released, it’s looking like the
accident is a result of off-roading after a stint at a local watering hole.
Shain Gandee, 21, was found dead with his uncle and a friend in Gandee’s truck,
which was partially submerged in mud. Their deaths have been ruled accidents, caused by carbon monoxide poisoning (with the car's exhaust stuck under mud, fumes filled the car).Obviously, this is tragic and not
something to make light of. What’s really disturbing is that, had this not
taken a terrible turn, the whole drinking-and-mudding scenario is something
that easily would have been included in an episode of the series. Not that MTV
needs to be a beacon for safety (see: Jackass,
Ridiculousness, the Jersey Shore's “smoosh room,” etc.)
But maybe it’s time to seriously re-think what we promote via reality TV
bullshit. Production on the show's second season has since been halted and it has been reported that Gandee's funeral expenses will be covered by Buckwild producers.
And here’s a cute video
of baby Gorilla Gladys at the Cincinnati Zoo to help you recover from that